I just read this article about transracial adoption and the needs of children in transracial adoptive families. It was really eye-opening. It mentions Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how important racial identity is. Anyhoo … I’ve posted the short version below.
The research study:
At the time, with Hong Kong struggling to cope with an influx of refugees fleeing communist China, the British government decided to transfer children from overcrowded orphanages to largely white British adopting families.
The British Association for Adoption and Fostering spent three years tracking down and interviewing 72 of them, creating a detailed analysis of the effect of transracial adoption on individuals over 50 years.
Although a spectrum of experiences was reported, some positive, the collective message was that race was critical to the girls’ wellbeing, findings that challenge the government’s proposal that “ethnicity should not be a primary consideration for adoption agencies”.
Referring to the Maslow scale, the hierarchy of needs developed by the late US psychologist Abraham Maslow which stipulates that a person’s fundamental requirements have to be fulfilled before they can realise their potential, Martin believes transracial adoption can fail to deliver much more than the basics.
“They can give food, shelter and all that stuff, but when it gets to the higher end of people’s needs like confirming their identity, self-image, they haven’t been able to fulfil that. It’s really important the adoption process takes this into account and doesn’t sweep race under the carpet,” she said.
Similarly, Martin warned that good intentions are not enough. “Most of the parents were largely middle-class white people with very good intentions and a lot of them very religious. The intentions were great, but the anecdotal recollections show there were quite a few who just didn’t know it was like to be Chinese,” she said.
Watch this GREAT video from PACT founder Beth Hall about preparing to have a transracial family: